Think no-one’s interested in booking international travel right now? Think again. We caught up with Adventure World Travel MD Neil Rodgers who told us that from what they are seeing, travellers are only becoming more concerned about missing out on the trip of a lifetime.
If COVID-19 has taught us anything about life, it’s that our existence on planet earth can often be shorter than we think and that nothing is guaranteed when it comes to the amount of time we have to appreciate the world while we are here.
When it comes to travel plans, it seems that this lightbulb moment has hit home in these strange times and only made travellers keener than ever to head off overseas once the borders reopen and start ticking off their bucket lists now instead of waiting for ‘later in life.’
According to Adventure World Travel managing director, Neil Rodgers, clients are currently locking in their future bucket-list trips such as bear lodges in Canada, safaris in Africa and northern lights trips in Scandinavia for 2021 and 2022, far earlier than usual.
Neil says that not only have Adventure World Travel seen an average of 15-20 new bookings coming in every week from agents for Q3&4 of 2021 and early 2022, but they’ve also noticed a positive trend from customers with existing bookings.
The good news is that clients who had to postpone their 2020 holiday for next year due to COVID-19 have now decided to maximise their trips by increasing the number of days, upgrading accommodation and adding in even more incredible bucket-list experiences, thus increasing the amount of money per file and in turn, the agent’s commission.
These new ‘upsized’ bookings are often totalling up to a whopping 40% extra per booking.
Neil says that on average, bookings are hitting the $40,000 mark with no expenses spared from clients when it comes to maximising their time away and the experiences they choose along the way.
“What we are seeing is clients who had previously suspended their booking or taken advantage of our 110% credit offer now upsizing their trips and locking them in because they don’t want to miss out.” Says Neil.
“The rest of the world is still travelling, and already, 2021 is looking difficult to secure high-end lodges, for example, and niche product that other markets are already snapping up.”
Asked about any concerns from consumers in terms of them losing their money on forward bookings, Neil says:
“As part of our post-COVID strategy, we went out to our 80,000 plus database and asked them what they felt they needed to book ahead with confidence and we were surprised by the response,
“Having the flexibility to change their booking or get a refund was number one, financial stability as a company and the operators we work with was number two while health and safety measures came in at number three. Interestingly, price wasn’t mentioned at all.”
“We’ve now led with these three core insights across our entire handpicked product range for 2021 and 2022, which we will launch in November. It’s driven our holistic approach to ensure everyone’s travel needs are met.”
How can agents seize the opportunity?
Neil says it’s a reminder for agents to check in with their clients and ask if they wish to make any changes or add any extra experiences. Chances are clients will jump at the chance to make the trip even better and thank them for suggesting it.
“Don’t be afraid – ask your clients about booking for 2022 and let them know that securing any plans they want in 2021 could be tricky in light of limited availability – so don’t miss out,” Neil says.
Training and skilling up to help navigate the ‘new world COVID-landscape’ will also be key says Neil, with the opportunity to build trust through professionalism and expertise becoming a huge opportunity and point of difference for agents.
As part of their nationwide training and showcase program, Adventure World plans to bring back their successful series of agent roadshows in March 2021 along with a range of virtual expo’s.
“What we’ve tried to do through these difficult months is keep the engine room of the business going. Our product team haven’t stopped evolving our range, and we’re really excited to launch in November.”
I think we can all agree that travel restrictions have left many of us craving a getaway even more. These trends are such positive signs for agents.
Not only that people are dreaming of and planning their next international getaway, but they’re looking to make it one to remember.
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